unMonastic Principles of Administration: a call for design solutions

unMonastery is moving into a new and exciting phase with the launch of the international call, so what better time could there be to review how we’ve been working so far.

I’d like to do some spring cleaning and potentially radical rethinking about how we’ve worked together so far – in this post I’ve laid out a short history of the tools we’ve been using to administrate the project, issues I have identified and some potential design solutions for improving future management.

How have we been organising so far?

  • Pbworks > : This was initially conceived of as a catch-all workspace (repository, timeline, discussion space) it was effective for several months but now represents more of an archive than a workspace.
  • Google Docs: I currently have over 60 different documents associated with unMonastery, shared with a widespread of different collaborators. This has been consistently effective for short term collaboration.
  • EdgeRyders.eu/unmonastery : The page you're looking at now, which has become the most used space for developing and sharing unMonastery.
  • Sunday Google Hangouts: We did this for several months and then when I stopped organising them they stopped, weekly was too much. This should be revived but it would be good to share responsibility, running them on a fortnightly/monthly basis.
  • The Website: Again has become an archive of sorts, despite the implementation of a super friendly CMS.


  • Transparency

    There is a clear lack of transparency and protocol for new comers or existing EdgeRyder members getting involved. This isn’t because unMonastery is a secret society but rather, it’s not clear what needs doing and how to start.

  • Decisions

    are having to be made that effect the future shape of the project. This for the most part is happening in a centralised way, participants and collaborators are too distributed, so key questions have to be answered by me, in the moment.

  • Horizontalism

    Only works if individuals take responsibility for the way they wish the project to exist.

  • Extended time

    unMonastery Matera was set to open in September of this year, if not earlier, in this moment the first iteration is the core engine of the project, as the project has been drawn out maintaining the momentum has been hampered.

  • Zero Resources

    Whilst the Matera side of the unMonastery project has some resource (a space, some administrative support, occasional flights and accommodation for events), the overall project has to date been run on community energy alone, much like the EdgeRyders platform.

These observations are clearly drawn from my own perspective as a facilitator of the project, I’d be curious and keen to know how the project is perceived by those reading this post – what issues have I potentially missed? Also where could I have personally done better? Lets be transparent.

My motivation for writing this post is to put everything out there in the hope that collaboratively we might begin to think up some smart design solutions for the future development of the project, since this will be crucial to success in the lead up to LOTE3 and the February launch.

You may have worked on similar projects or in familiar ways, and already have the solutions we need. To get the ball rolling, I’ve outlined a number of things below that I believe would help the project – feedback and suggestions always appreciated.

Some potential solutions:

  • Call for participation within defined roles.

    I’ve written a separate post here calling for individuals with an explicit set of skills to join the project – there are many people out there that are excited about the unMonastery but may not be able to join us in Matera. It’s my hope that by posting these positions we might expand the core team in a concrete and sustainable way. If you know anyone who might be interested please direct them towards the post.

  • Adopting the EdgeRyders task model.

    Alberto recently wrote a brilliant post (/t/making-lote3/360/lote-organizational-architecture-a-proposal ) proposing a framework for delivering the next LOTE, focused on decentralisation and the packetisation of tasks. Should we adopt this for all aspects of unMonastery? Or is there an alternative route? How well has it worked for EdgeRyders so far?

  • Landing strip.

    unMonastery needs a place where individuals who are new to the project can get an overview at a glance, as the project is highly distributed and difficult to understand at times. What’s the best format for this? I had started to produce a popplet – but perhaps there’s a better approach! What would be a smart way of integrating calls to action into such a thing?

  • Informal discussion space.

    Do we require an alternative discussion space? Posts created here hold a certain weight as do the considered comments members of ER and unMon make on each one. UnMonastery suffers at times due to the geographically distributed nature of its contributors. I feel personally that we need something like a google group for experimental, not yet fully formed ideas and musings. Would you participate were it to exist?

  • The website.

    Requires design solutions, perhaps just in the form of a committed web editor, who can filter content from here to there. Or should the website be entirely transformed. Could it be as simple as something like this or this. I’d be more than happy to redesign it into something that makes more sense if what we currently have isn’t work.

  • Organisational Chart

    Another issue of transparency, is around who exactly is involved, this is probably a no brainer, unMonastery needs an organisational chart that summarise the various stakeholders, facilitators and roles. The question I guess is, should this be public?

  • Buddy System.

    It’s lonely working across borders, in your room, in a coffee shop or wherever your general state of precarity finds you. I floated the idea in the last community call that we adopt a buddy system that pares you with another individual to focus on specific tasks or areas of development. Could this work for unMonastery and if so what would it look like?


Thanks for sharing an inside look at this complex process, and some possible trajectories. I am intrigued, and interested in contributing!

I’d like to suggest a graph-based visual collaboration tool that may be of value in approaching some of these matters, as it has served nicely in a somewhat parallel context at Emerging Leader Labs “unlearning” program session this summer: http://metamaps.cc

See for example: http://metamaps.cc/maps/337 where we have begun to visualize the workings of our donation-based community-benefit food system; or http://metamaps.cc/maps/5 as an example of a ‘landing strip’ orientation guide.

I would enjoy playing host/facilitator for a couple of trial sessions in the LOTE/unMonastery arena here, if anyone is interested in experimenting. Perhaps a basic asset map or roles outline exercise during a Google Hangout? Maps may be readily forked, and/or co-edited in realtime online.

Currently the tool serves best as a sandbox for collective intelligence, multi-threaded narrative, and contextual information architecture, with hints of a powerful intuitive interface for semantic web content aggregation. Several exciting new features in the pipeline this Fall - it could be a really valuable sense-making tool in many EdgeRyder-esque scenarios ahead!

There is a Google+ user group exploring further applications and development here:

All together now: piggybacking existing Edgeryders activity and

Ben I can share a little about how we’re managing the Edgeryders online interaction and collective building of LOTE which is going quite well…

Weekly Google hangouts: They work very very well. We start with a round of introductions where people are asked to briefly introduce themselves and what they are especially excited about right now. Then we launch into discussing where we are with the work and people can put various issues and challenges on the table. By the end of the call we have each taken on a task that needs to be done. It’s important to reiterate that there is no one else to do the work so if you propose it, you’re taking responsibility of making it happen. Building LOTE together is a way to kickstart the work of building the unMonastery so maybe loop people in on those calls rather than try to maintain a separate one?

Output: Each call is summarised and  followed up on via a newsletter to people who have signed up for lote and status updates on various social media channels. [Auli] who is also a drupal wiz it volunteered to do the weekly newsletter, [Dorotea] is coordinating the social media team, and [Noemi] is on top of all things community management related. Maybe ping for some help?

How did we get here: By doing lots of outreach through keynotes at conferences and videos like this one. As well as by not determining a priori what roles or working spaces are needed, but leaving them open for participants in the call who take responsibility for getting something done to design according to their needs. We asked everyone in the first call if they would be up for adapting the Edgeryders platform to their needs and the consensus was yes, because the community platform is well managed and there is now quite a lot of activity on it. If you’re running a separate online presence you cant piggyback on the excitement that we’ve been generating also for the unMonastery e.g. through presentation at Ouisharefest.

my 2 cents.


1 Like

Not a separate endeavor

Hello Nadia, I admire the degree of self-organization that is going on here around these common goals and values. Great progress and devotion so far!

It is certainly not my intention to divert energy or add complexity via redundant activities online. I think that the Metamaps tool may help all participants to maintain awareness of the current organizational / collaborative structures and to design new features or initiatives from a holistic (or “holoptic” - seeing the whole organism) perspective. It is an experimental tool / process, so maybe not something to invest heavily in right away, but I’d like to try it out with you all anywhere that may serve!

As one quick example, I just made a start on a map based on the information you shared in your comment here: EdgeRyders LOTE3 | Metamaps

I will continue to familiarize with the projects and see what arises to share.

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Wrong Ben :slight_smile:

Hi BenB, welcome to Edgeryders lovely having you here :slight_smile: I checked out the map you made, I see what you mean (btw my comment was directed at Ben Vickers original post). Two challenges I see with using additional software are 1) a low maintenance way of keeping it up to date 2) the way we are getting organised and making things happen together is primarily through social interaction in the calls and this online platform + our social media accounts (postntweet). W.r.t 1) I think maybe a network analysis tool using the data from the platform and our interactions on it would give a complimentary map that would have the benefit of being kept up to date. W.r.t 2) IMHO the most viable alternative is for people to meet in hangouts and take charge of building needed pages and content to help people better navigate existing content and highlight new content as it is posted. 

Would you be up for helping figure out through trial and error what a good way to do this may be? If so, how much time could you dedicate to this over the next couple of months do you think?


Got it, my apologies for misreading your comment, and thanks for the welcome! Perhaps I will switch my handle to Benjamin for clarity over here…

Right now I would be interested in joining a couple of hangouts rather passively to get a better sense of how things are developing at the moment and what I might be able to offer. I am interested in setting up some mapped representations of what I’m seeing within the organization/projects, and checking in with others as to how those insights might help further the process - but I am also conscientious of not throwing another ‘shiny app’ into the mix for additional learning/adoption curves and unknown benefit! Perhaps I can serve as ‘LOTE mmap steward’ for now, and set it up as a playground if anyone else wishes to join. I am not able to make much of a time commitment at this moment, beyond perhaps weekly hangout and an hour or two in between - perhaps more after next month. Let’s see what clicks in coming weeks. Glad to be a part of the conversation!

That’s the spirit :slight_smile:

Hello [BenB], good to meet you. I appreciate your balance between the urge to share a tool that works well for you and the consideration for other people’s learning curves. You already found what a mathematician would call a convex solution: you contribute a Mmap to Edgeryders/LOTE. If people see the value, they will want to adopt.

I normally don’t use this kind of tool, with one important exception: three years ago I wrote a full-length book, and in that case I did work with a mind map (not online and not shared, however). My provisional conclusion is that it can help to make an elegant hierarchy – not a network, but a tree. This is actually what I wanted: I needed a simple, intuitive structure for a relatively sprawling topic. So I made a mind map and started drag-and-dropping my “atoms of content” into a structure that grew to be made of three parts, each part divided into chapters, each chapter containing atoms of content. I am not convinced that making lote is a tree, but I may very well be wrong.

I normally take part in lote community hangouts on Friday mornings.

Steps of ‘how’ leading into: Here’s why:

Hi BenB,

are you on team Metamaps (are you in ELL right now with Ishan and the third (?))

I think the metamap is great. Does it also have a geographical locational aspect or is it meta-like-that in a post geographic conceptually based kinda way?

I heard that Metamaps and Netention used to work together and have chatted to Seth about the relationship. He filled me in on his side of things, and so I went and chatted to Ishan to try to see it from another persepctive and see why the split is maintained. It turns out that the approach is different somewhat in terms of values. NAmely that Seth is full-on principled in terms of OS and doesn’t want to work with anything that isn’t. After a chat with Ishan I went back and chatted with Seth about it and he seemed more open to the prospect of this kind of development. And so he gave me this : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kH25Ea2XOBA-HeWk6PzYVgOpi5aFy3rJmLD0s1vwycI/edit

Its a list of outstanding tasks for completion on Netention that he could use help with, and, I suppose, a way of saying that if there is room for collaboration that it has to work both ways.

This is why I ask about the meta-component and the geo-localising component of MMs, whether there is one or not. Because both together are a powerful capacity and perfect in terms of what we are doing here, and in Living Bridges, and with SoCap Local etc etc etc.

To elaborate on that:

Bert-Ola Bergstrand (Sweden) has been developing the Living Bridges platform with Will Schroll from Berlin. He also initiated the Social Capital forum and was causitive in the effect of SoCap comin to Europe in 2010 and 2011. Now socap, via developing socap local, is working alongside the unreasonable institute, alongside good:local, alongside geeks gone global (africa and asia) and alongside the Living Bridges crew via bert-Ola who is also here in ER nd will be helping build in the lead up to Lote 3 after he is done with the LB youth empowerment on August 5th.

There is an obvious convergence of networks here. And so:

Plug-In-ability is very important. Can each of these communities use tools like MM, like Netention, without having to split their attention, logging in and signing in etc to various different software suites?

I have been pointing out this problem for quite some time now and have suggested what I called an App-Deck a while back until I got bored talking to the wall. The basic premise is an on-platform plugin that manages applications of various affiliate software tools for communty usage. You end up with a personal and community equivalent of social bookmarking but for applications, and so people know how to format what in order to communicate with different groups.

Now there is a golden opportunity to enact this kind of project via something like:


Its in November and so could be planned via a session in UnMon, the question is: who (hackers) do we have from what cities across europe? I have been chatting with Addy, the coordinator here, and it seems he is also on a few other things, one of which is the digital Nasa team, where Netention have also a project application running.

Why do we need MetaMaps? This is why, there are so many cross-overs at the moment that its too much for one person to be able to keep track of, and yet if we see the connections, the human hubs and living bridges, then we know who and how, via what and when to co-ordinate collaborative hacks as they crop up.


Yes I am at ELL in New York now, in a general purpose support role. I have been an active user of Metamaps since early in its life, and have been closely watching progress by Ishan, Connor, and Robert during the Lab session here. I am also very interested in a geographic backdrop as optional feature on the interface…that is getting very close to a personal design sketch I have nurtured for a while under the title of BrowsEarth(.org) to map IRL ‘success story’ online content by location, as well as timing, agents, themes, etc.

I am not as familiar with the latest thinking on Netention, but have been introduced to the concept by Dante G.M in the past. As far as the evolutionary step towards interoperability or portability between many such application spaces…i think that’s getting into the territory of ‘Streamscapes’ that Eric H.B and Art Brock are moving into with the next round of ELL in the fall here. I’m sure there are other approaches and possibilities, and much need, it is a little bit too deep in the stack for me to comprehend well or offer insight to!

What I could offer is some discussion around another big piece of my work for BrowsEarth that seeks to develop an open/adaptable ontology for shared value creation, a way to apply visual (icon-based, like the Noun Project) metadata to narrative content (experiential story records). This model I am working with breaks down into three taxonomies for what-how-why aspects of a given documentary content item (with who, where, when data extracted as appropriate) and begins to offer a cross-platform semantic mapping ability through an interface like Metamaps or Crowdmap. For me it is more of a ‘wisdom base’ solution, rather than a design/interaction space - although there are certainly ways to apply the same ontology in a more creative, even game-like fashion.

Thanks for sharing your info and interests, and yes I agree that many of these things are quickly and creatively converging and hybridizing. I hope we can see much of that play out in spaces like LOTE & unMon & ELL ahead!

Gee, that was necessary :slight_smile:

Aaaah, spring cleaning: much needed, thanks Ben. While I was reading the post I was nodding my head and realized that I myself am filled with assumptions regarding the project which influence my way of reacting, participating and promoting the unMonastery. I’ll start by telling you what I realize I percieve of the project, and how this has influenced my taking the voice (or not) in the making-of. Please bare in mind that this is really my personal opinion, shaped upon my very partial experience of the process, and my inevitably subjective knowledge of the local community and the mt2019 process.

The core ambivalence of the unMon lies, in my eyes, in this semi-public semi-hacker, half voluntary half paid situation. This is not a criticism, it’s a fact. Which comes with consequences, and one of them is that I, for example, do not understand what’s going on really, and I am not sure who to ask and if I can take initiatives. For example, this is what I saw from the outside. The first workshop was completely organized on a voluntary basis, with MT2019, ER and the webteam collaborating and creating momentum. Personally, I think it was a great success. I was not able to come to the second WS, so I cannot express my opinion, but from the outside I didn’t feel much coming from it. Was it the date? Was it the organization? Was it the theme? I do not know, but something didn’t pass (correct me if I’m wrong). What I understood was that a contract was made with Andrea Paoletti, so he was going to be in charge of the community management and all that comes with linking the unMon with the local community. From then on I didn’t really know how to contribute, as - how I see it, and maybe I am wrong - if there is a paid contract with someone, that makes that person in charge and responsible of giving input and directions. Which I never got. So things just faded, and I find that’s a great pity because it is so hard to get the momentum, especially in Matera where people get dissappointed easily and are quite sceptical. The unMon, still today, has a great sympathy capital in the local community: do not disperse it, cultivate it and take good care of it - especially, do not take it for granted.

The call came out: here again, apart from promoting it and dying to know about how many people will apply :slight_smile: I don’t know if we can take some action on the side. If so, how? Can we start building on the unMon when the people that are going to be aprt of it have not been selected yet? For example, I have some proposals (like anyone) for some stuff that could be done to facilitate the “interface” dimension of the unMon, but I’m not the one who’s gonna live there, so is it really up to me and others to speak about this? On the other hand, 2-4 months is nothing: it would be really sad if half of the time spent at the unMon is passed discussing on organizational matters. To make it clear: should we already decide, for example, that Sundays are the interface days where the unMon is open to Materani? Or should we already say that once a month there’s a pop up party? And already start communicating that the Economy App will be the way to exchange with unMon (on this I still have to answer the great thread going on with Matt!)?

This said, now that you posted this, I’m back on track: here’s my reactions to the points you shared:

  • defined roles: first of all, I don't get how the online participants are going to collaborate with the selected unMonastarians. For example, I would love to committ to Facilitator of Communication and Community: who do I say this too? Where does this fit in the picture and what is needed? Is it only a matter of speaking Italian? Or is it also about being physically present in Matera? If so, I need to know: action can be taken in this sense :-) the point here is that there is stuff which is linked to Matera and the ongoing unMon, but stuff has to be done on the side anyways. I have stumbled upon different funding opportunities, and everytime I thought of the unMon. And then stopped because I wondered how can a distributed group of people apply for funding? And if it's for funding the idea, and the idea passes, would you (in general) go for funding a social enterprise? the unMon as a spin-off of a spin-off?
  • task model: yes! Now!
  • landing strip: website and downloadable booklet (or SlideShare)? The latter could be helpful for people who want to present the project to potential local administrations. Something like: the 10 core principles, what is needed, what it has to offer...
  • informal discussion space: I think this is going to be needed especially when the unMon are going to be selected. It could be a way to start animating the discussion between ER, unMon and hopefully Materani. could this happen on the ER platform or would it have to migrate elsewhere?
  • organizational chart: SOOOO needed. I don't think I have a picture of who's collaborating to the unMon. Also, there are different types of participation (different not in quality, but in the impact that they have on the making-of, although ALL are valuable). For example, you speak of the "core team": I don't know who this core team is. It would be great to have a chart (evolving and not fixed) with faces and two sentences to describe the role.
  • Buddy system: 10 times yes. Otherwise it's a promised burnout. So I'm back to the question: how many are we exactly?

What are the next steps? How I see it there is a set of activities and people which are going to focus on the Matera unMon. But the unMon is a bigger picture. We can go on elaborating for years, online, the narrative of the unMon, but if it doesn’t go live, develop and replicate it’s all wishfull thinking. At the same time, as you said, one thing is having resources for the site-specific unMons, one thing is having resources for the overall project. I often have access to funding schemes, but they go with issues such as elegibility criteria and all that stuff. who do I pass them on to? And if we find something interesting, is there someone ready to write the bid with me?

I will start by proposing here the last that passed through my hands:

  • Open until the 28th of October: here you will read about it (in Italian)
  • Open from the 4th of September: this is much more serious in its implications as it requires to open a SRL located in the Southern Italian regions. 4 years support plan, max 200.000€ for new enterprises. Eligible costs: salaries and material. As I told you, I had this in mind for the Sicignano delgi alburni proposal.

So this is a first wave of inputs. Sorry if it’s more questions than proposals, but I guess that before going on with proposals I need to get a better picture. As I said, I realized while reading you that the picture I has was more unclear than I thought, and actually I was (and probably still am) filled with assumptions.

Maybe a good starting point to get back on track it to roganize the LOTE#3 session on the unMon? My mind immediately goes to how to involve Materani again in the design process. At this point with a more defined picture to get their reactions and proposals. What do you think?

p.s. Are Friday community calls also for the unMon?

Thoughts and actions!

Ilaria, firstly thank you so much for your thoughtful and comprehensive response, you allow a lot of space for me to expand on my initial post – for that reason I’ve been exceptionally slow to reply, so apologies!

To begin, you’re quite right to be confused, I sat down and attempted to produce a ‘Landing Strip’ and it got complicated – looking at the core of unMonastery the relationships between organisations is dense.

Here’s a link to my first iteration covering who’s involved – it falls short of covering everything though.

You identify a key problem when you say “The core ambivalence of the unMon lies, in my eyes, in this semi-public semi-hacker, half voluntary half paid situation… ….if there is a paid contract with someone, that makes that person in charge and responsible of giving input and directions”.

The conflation of paid individual and individual with authority to act, is logical but in the case of unMonastery (and other projects of this nature) is a hindrance to the productivity the overall project might achieve. One I’m attempting to solve in writing these posts – I for example am not paid, at LOTE2 there was a strong collective effort to pull unMonastery together by a mix of EdgeRyders, which gave us the push we needed for the Matera prototype. At the end of LOTE2 I said that I would take responsibility for the project, which at the time meant; doing all the boring administration so others who are interested in the project can just do the fun bits. What this has come to mean is carrying the majority of the weight, through both administration and decision making, decisions that I would prefer to be making with a larger group of people.

UnMonastery is a concept with strong foundations and a promising proposition that many people care about and have contributed to. It’s an idea that was willed into existence by the spirit of EdgeRyders and as a result it now has a set of very real responsibilities to fulfil, principally at this point to the people of Matera. I say this in response to some of your points, trust that I do not take this for granted nor lightly, I am very conscious of what has been given to us thus far by the people of Matera.

Fundamentally; No one owns the concept of unMonastery, like hackerspaces (which have heavily influenced the concept to date) it is hoped that others will take the idea and run with it, remix it and redistribute it for the benefit of towns and cities throughout Europe.

My personal position is this; there is no hierarchy in the unMonastery, anyone willing to contribute constructive and pragmatic building techniques is welcomed with open arms and invited in as an equal partner. Only in instances where individuals act to raise polemical issues around hypothetical scenarios, would I suggest that the project is not for them, since it is predicated on pragmatism and doing. My question though is this; How do we communicate this openness clearly? And once it is communicated, how do we create the infrastructure by which this can actually happen?

I’ve discussed this issue recently with @Noel Hatch, concluding that we need to design an effective ‘permission mechanism’ – that assures and enables individuals to continually contribute and make decisions.

My first pass at this has to been to create an ‘unMonastery Lab’ – which in essence is just a wiki deployment on the website. But it could be much more, it could become a lively open access space to collaboratively design the unMonastery in advance of its first iteration and with a view towards future iterations. I would like for us all from this point on figure out how to organise this space; literally how do we breakdown the initial categories?

“Can we start building on the unMon when the people that are going to be apart of it have not been selected yet?”

Yes absolutely, as I’ve stated above. Matera is the first iteration and people on the ground will always have the option to dismiss propositions or design concepts in the same way that monks were free to reject ‘the rule’ in the initial establishment of monastic life. It is more likely though that anything built now will be used, modified or adapted. If it’s not used in Matera, it might be used for an alternative iteration.

“I don’t get how the online participants are going to collaborate with the selected unMonastarians. For example, I would love to commit to Facilitator of Communication and Community: who do I say this too?“

You just said it, so great, welcome on board, it’s great to have you here in an official capacity as Facilitator of Communication and Community (you’ll have an email address shortly). As for the former question, I don’t know yet, but I guess as Project Facilitator and Facilitator of Communication and Community it’s our responsibility to figure it out!

“And if it’s for funding the idea, and the idea passes, would you (in general) go for funding a social enterprise? the unMon as a spin-off of a spin-off?”

Potentially yes, providing such a model wouldn’t on others spinning off their own unMonasteries autonomously and without bureaucratic hindrance.

One thing that has really excited me of late is the realisation of how unMonastery can act as a conceptual tool for incubating new ideas – because there are actually very few ideas out there that propose a holistic framework by which to re-imagine living in the world, you realise there is so much stuff that could be built. Many of these new things may be provoked by the idea of unMonastery but they may also be capable of living a life of their own. Recent discussions with Gaia about unMonastery in-a-box has bought light to this realisation.

“task model: yes! Now!” - I’ll start adding tasks after this post.

“landing strip: website and downloadable booklet (or SlideShare)?” - I had intended to produce a slide presentation that could be used and modified by others so anyone could present the idea of unMonastery, so lets do that > shared document anyone can edit going forward.

“organizational chart:” - available here.

This weekend I’ll also create a github or dropbox for unMonastery, to act as a repository for the related files, texts, assets and funding proposals.

Funding wise, you’re amazing, I’m available to talk on Monday but would be equally happy to just begin writing an application.

I’m going to cut myself short at this point because already this exchange has put many things into action, rather than provoke another extensive response, perhaps it makes most sense if we begin working together on what’s been laid out.

(This is of course also an open invitation to anyone reading and I’ll follow up on other comments directly soon.)

Small steps (but steps)

Wow – I managed to miss @ilariadauria’s comment. The good news is that we talked about this at today’s community call, so I do have something to contribute.

  1. Yes, it is difficult to understand and clearly communicate the unMonastery. This is intended: building an institution takes trial, error and emergence – hence time. But yes, it does put the project in chicken-and-egg dilemma: it needs committed people to emerge, but people need for it to have emerged before they can commit. Long ago we decided to attack this by doing a small-scale prototype, that would break the dilemma. Now people can say "I can participate by doing X, and I can expect Y to happen from my participation". What X and Y are depends on who you are, but the call provides a clear and certain framework.
  2. It turns out this choice was correct. The conversation shifted from abstract to concrete: from "institution design" to fitting wheels to furniture, and from "relationships with the local community" to debating actual problems pointed out by actual Materans. When this happens, you know you are onto something.
  3. Also, we aligned the interests of Edgeryders and the unMonastery by recasting \#LOTE3 as a bridge event from the workshops in spring 2013 to the unMonastery going live in February 2014. Again, very good move; now the relationships with the local community are discussed in terms of cooking together and Materans offering their homes to us. Also, \#LOTE3 will create more buzz around the unMonastery, given that there is good content and a social media team already on the case.

So, I would argue, we do have a strategy, and a good one at that. We don’t need so much more design at the project level: we need execution (and design at the building/rituals/hosted projects level). Specifically:

  • applicants need to be handheld. From today's community call, I got the impression that first-round applicants like [TOOLosophy], [Jessy Jetpacks] and [invisigot] were still waiting to hear about their application. If this is true, the situation needs to be corrected, and they need to be steered towards the actual call, and they have a right to be counseled if they so desire. This is clearly Ben's responsibility.
  • more applicants need to be found. This needs help from everybody. Today I went live again on my main media outlet; Wired Italia covered us just two weeks ago. There is more to come. Who else has ideas for getting the word out to interesting people that might apply? It might be as simple as telling an interesting friend – actually this might be worth more than an article on Wired.
  • we need action on the unMonastery \#LOTE track. I think that track has potential to be the cooler of the three, and just making it together will be a powerful campaign for getting unMonasterians to sign up. My proposal on this is to create a team. At today's community call, [Noemi] said that the three people mentioned above (Andrei/TOOLosophy, Jessica and Fabio/Invisigot) would be probably happy to step in given clear permission to do so. We could build a team with these people plus Ben plus me, with our own weekly community call (it seems to be going well) or even, initially, just participating in the "normal" Friday morning call to increase mutual awareness. I have done some preliminary work on possible sessions and am eager to share it with you. I would also make it explicit that you can be an unMonastery resident without participating in building the LOTE3 unMon track and viceversa.

What do you guys think?

Second that!

As I was mentioning in the community call,  I see people registering on edgeryders.eu and Lote3 every day with the unMonastery in mind, as defining Edgeryders project. It’s true, since the unMon is in fact our baby, everyone’s here. So no wonder interests are alingned, and so is capacity, so far as I’m concerned: we are making efforts to communicate the unMon in so much as we - eg. media team - know and are kept in the loop with developments. The moment the specific Lote3 track will be defined and people will start working on it in more detail, the bigger the push will be.

I’m very anxious to catch up on this and keep on carrying the unMonastery narrative through our community event. Ben, how many applicants do you have so far in first + second round?

Very necessary indeed


You offer a unique contribution.  Thanks.  Your comments about not diluting the goodwill that we may have generated cannot be said often enough.

I have received a similar comment via less erudite english - that put this even more imperatively: “UNMO is a very interesting project if it really enters into a relationship with the local people --otherwise always lived as something alien.” (which I interpret as we have all too many experiences of alien attrocities that descend upon us…)

Our option then is to design our meetings so as to insure that our inevitable alienness can be shared as warm, human, understandable and therefore welcome alienness.  i

I think this is the role of our feast days (Even it may be quoting me in the unMo lore documents, let us jettison the word parties as too baggage laden).

I wrote a long note about how the unHalloween suggestion could be tweaked to reflex both the cultural impulses behind respect for our ancestors/ and our fear of death –

but as I saw its momentum develop and hadn’t the time to interject (grandsons visiting), thought it might be wiser to let the LOTE take its own direction.

However, coming in on the tail end of the friday conf call, I got some valuable feedback from Dorethea and Håvard - and now think that the unMo aspect has to flavour all interface with Matera. ( My notes have me getting back to Alex to see where he is.  )

It is particularily important I feel to avoid some of the incidents that occurred at LOTE1 and LOTE2.  That we have Icelanders, British and Swedes among our number is a fact of life.  As an organisation we shall have to take a decision whether to expose the local commnity to Northern European degrees of alcohol consumption.  We shall have to face this cultural conflict at some time - I suggest immediately to avoid alienating any potential local partners.

There is a version of the All Hallow’s Eve work and the powers of hedonism that invites us to access collective estatic states without resorting to intoxicants.

Ilaria has also underlined the absurdity of accepting a four month timeline for the residency: we will barely have time to make any genuine first-class mistakes.  Her proposal to force us to get organisational decisions made even before we actually have people on the spot - demonstrates this dilemma.  ER work has to be participatory; marginal unpaid nomads cannot afford to look into the future.  I’ll gladly work with someone to arrange a series of production plans that include daily and weekly rituals that contain and focus without prematurely forcing firm choices.

Around that; I once sent Ben a sketch of an 26 themed annual cycle that encompassed your weekly interaction Sunday in a two weekly cycle.  This can be looked at, but two weeks allows a stronger pulse - perhaps alternative weeks can have another profile.  i’ll ask him to dig it out.

The other bit that I want to spend time on with someone is the unMo ritual framework that can provide the LOTE with a heightened sense of its mission.

It’s 0530 in the morning and I want to go out and smell the wind.



Some further thoughts for matching people to actions for scalable ‘greater good’ achievment, growing out of an ongoing discussion thread in Sensorica open value network group Redirecting to Google Groups

The salient patterns I see are:

  • call for strong coherence holding…go-to vision-keepers and project stewards, per intended outcome

  • explicit objectives and values statements, in accessible yet evolving format

  • flexible role definition, or ‘task management’ (collective prioritization)

  • deft ‘expectation management’ & innovation (aka storytelling)

  • thoughtful subdivision and layering of projects by aim

My suggestion on the Sensorica thread was to move away from the idea of Roles (and authority / expectancy in general) towards trusted capacities and pledged accountability. Project stewards are empowered to extend trust to further project goals with participants of suitable capacity (skill set or experience). Accountabilities are specific task sets that are prioritized by stewards for project fulfillment, and then effectively crowdsourced.

This level of nuance (and complexity) is where a modeling environment like Metamaps can shine, revealing the changing state of relationships and activities in a given project space, where things like methods, collaborators, outcomes, and feedback are all visible and meaningfully connected.

I’m going to keep buliding and sharing some such maps to see how others may find them useful too!

The first three “Issues” raised by Ben in the original post above seem to me the crux of the matter, plus perhaps a related area of Recognitions and rewards for contributions well made (in line with shared value propositions). The most obvious challenge may be synchronization between various records, intentions, and perspectives in play at any given time under the project banners. This, I think, is the first order of business for coherence holders to take on and resolve, so that it is clear enough where and how to engage for a baseline livel of concurrency (knowing that your are ‘on the same page’ with most others in the project space at any time) and co-creation.

With well-crafted goals and values out in the open (a map!), it is much easier to break down tasks and enlist volunteers, with the possibility of thoughtful rewards/acknowledgement based on demonstrated achievement in line with overarching project goals. These goals can reside at an intersection of multiple projects or networks.

Breaking goals down into accountabilities (something of a project roadmap) helps people to self-select (and constantly adjust) for right placement within the emerging social organism.

There is a center or hub for the project which maintains this overview picture and coordination, but it is open to forking or parallel processing to help deliver increased value to support/user communities, the ultimate arbiters of currency.

building momentum

We do churn out a lot of text:

Ilaria: I support the idea of everyone writing their own job descriptions.  I have used this as an ensemble building strategy : asking participants to grasp the  job they wish.  ( In a post-war zone, one young man said Minister of Defence.)  People clarify for themselves were their passions lie, and provide signals to others as to were to seek cooperation.  These will of course be flexible - although a formal announcement of a change of title over breakfast always helps in launching a fresh realignment.

If it seems that our greatest fear is arriving at the point where we have a magnificent idea, but noone to inhabit it.

I suggest we lower any barriers.  The story of invisible/vanishing residency proposals is indicative of a design malfunction.

I’d boldly put mine directly on the unMo blog, which I thought was to be the hub of all our communication; three months later, even Ben hadn’t registered it.

I suggest we bring all residency proposals - or an edited visual presentation of person and project ( supplied by proposer) - front and centre as they arrive.

Line them up as currently on track for realisation; allowing them to ferment interest and to inspire others.  At this point noone need be filtered out.

If something seems way off the mark (mine for example?) - the ‘collective we’ can direct them to the 41 desires as a way to refine their initiative.

This makes everyone welcome until we have an experience of being overfilled.  If we must invoke a cap, it needn’t be strictly numeric but practical/economic.  Pocket and food money gets shared among the residents.  If we are less than full, we bank the surplus for rainy days.  If space gets constricted… we up the psychic cleanliness rituals either opening up more flexibility, or sweeping out the deadwood.  The key will be in the precision in our projects;  if everyone is focussed and working well, ( BenB puts it as"well-crafted goals and values out in the open"), we can surprise each other…

I’ve volunteered to be one of so far just three ( +Dorofia (Lisboa) + Håvard (Maastricht)) who arrive early for the LOTE#3 to prepare the spaces.  I’ve placed myself here in order to best represent the unMo.  During the last Friday confcall: we put it this way: it is not the LOTE that is leaving behind the unMo among its debris ; it is the unMo that is hosting LOTE#3 as a strategic recruitment campaign.  Every attendee is a potential unMonk unNun.  If we are clear enough in our presence, noone will want to leave.  (The alternative is to have available plenty of massive chains to capture desirable candidates.)

This places considerable pressure upon an insitution that still does not yet exist.  However, as Alberto almost puts it, the unMo track at LOTE#3 looks as if it will be far the sexiest of the three.  It is therefore an ideal time to frame the content of this track in whatever taste of an unMo practice we can conjur up.  (Even if it just involves finding a budget for candles and a taped harmonium player.)  The strong elements that clearly represent us include the food, the feasts, the dancing.  Reportedly the idea of a ‘Halloween’ Party has been refined; this is unMo territory at its most essential and opens for whatever ceremony we might devise…

I’ve just spent two days focussing my own contribution to date.  (Lumping as much as I can dredge up all together for my blogsite.)  It’s not out there yet, but has been a useful process to renew the fires.

Alberto: after the best collective conf call yet, you dropped me from the track design committee.  Let me know if this was consciously, due to levels of abstraction or something?

Brother Bembo Davies

Issue Illumination and Social Dramaturgy

im going to hold my hands up and say i coulndt read all of this. to me that would take a lot of time. i skimmed. i saw buddy system and i wanted to say yes.

i already in my mind have a hierarchy (please no one be offended that it is this small, it is easyer) ben vickers, bembo, nadia, alberto; i see them as organising at the top but if i had questions i wouldnt necesarily contact them (as i feel they would be too busy and it might be repetetive) i have adopted noemi and dorotea as my buddies. because dorotea sends me emails for social networking (so i feel active involved) and noemi knows more than me so i feel i can ask her questions.

then the people i am spreading the word to can ask me. this way i feel comfortable. it might be worth noting that people naturally establish hierarchy and its not such a bad thing, even though we may all help shape and structure things to have a center of control and then a person/s that you feel comfortable asking question of will help engage people if they are confused (which i definatley am somtimes). like ambassadors :slight_smile:

also pictures yes! diagrams with short text and pictures, spider diagrams, trees, charts whatever, yes yes. they are good.

also yes alberto, i have been informed to apply again, which is good because my application needs to be different anyway to fit the time scale, ben has emailed me (and i assume the others) and sent us to do another application, he said the end of the month is deadline for first reveiwing of applicants.

Founding Principles by the Free Knowledge Institute (FKI).

Hi all,

I am happy to share with you all our principles and values ​​that we decided to follow during the development of Bergamo Hub project.

Founding Principles  by the Free Knowledge Institute (FKI).

We have put into action a set of founding principles that reflect our shared thoughts and ideas as a basis for the free knowledge society. These founding principles help guide our work over time and are the means by which we articulate what is and has been intrinsically important in the conditions that were required for volunteer contributors to drive an learning focused organization’s agenda, and improve things for participating learners and mentors activity.